Category Archives: travel

Shop Hopping: Eagle River, Alaska

Do you shop hop for certain things when you go on vacation?  We always buy certain souvenirs:  postcards, refrigerator magnets, and t-shirts.  Sometimes, if I am lucky, we find a quilt shop or two.  Recently, we drove from our home in West Virginia to Alaska.  This was actually the second time that we drove to Alaska.  The first time we went in July 2015.  It caught on fire.  We went home.  This time we decided to be tourists.

rainbow in Canada

We decided to see a little more of Canada, so we entered Canada through the town of International Falls in Minnesota.  We drove through Manitoba and Saskatchewan…It was a lot like driving through Kansas.  (If you have driven through Kansas you will understand…if you haven’t, you should try it at least once, so you understand.)

Canada does have some beautiful parts…majestic mountains, Banff National Park, etc.  Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory is NOT one of those beautiful places.  After making a reservation for a hotel room that was held with a credit card, our room was given away.  After 14 1/2 hours of driving, this was a rather crappy end to the day…especially since this was my birthday.  We kept on driving.  We slept for an hour here and an hour there for a grand total of 3 1/2 hours sleep.  However, we did get there sooner than planned and save $169!

Yadda, Yadda, yadda…we ended up in Eagle River, Alaska, a couple of days later.  This sounds like a remote place, but it is actually the suburbs of Anchorage!  It is still a beautiful place, but more citified than most people would think.  As we were waiting to check in to the hotel for the evening we ate a charming little pizza place.  Delicious!  This is where we were when it first dawned on us that most people who live in Alaska are actually from somewhere else!

We were checking out the area when we wandered into a…drum roll, please…a QUILT SHOP!  Yeah!  The Quilt Cache is a great little shop.  I had a great chat with one of the ladies in the shop about the best places to see Denali, etc.  We also chatted about the project she was working on when she wasn’t busy waiting on customers.  It was great to be out of the car for a few minutes.  What an inspiring little shop!

Alaskan batiks

I did buy some Alaskan market batiks.  The eagles are a bit hard to see.  They are the light shapes in the fabric on the left.  I love the grizzly bears, pine cones and bear tracks in the fabric on the right.

I bought a few fat quarters as Christmas gifts for my friends.

fat quarters

Since we were there on July 3rd, I was wearing red, white, and blue, and it was Eagle River, I was inspired to buy some eagle fabrics, too.

Quilt of Valor panel eagles and flags

I will probably turn the fabric on the right into a pillow for my social studies teacher husband for our anniversary.  He never wants presents…or very rarely asks for them, so I think this will be an excellent surprise.

I learned from a friend to check for clearance items.  As I was browsing, I found a bag stuffed with scraps that were left from Quilts of Valor projects that were hung around the shop.  I really need to start taking my camera into quilt shops with me!

Happy travels and happy quilting!



2017…Here we come!

Happy 2017!

I hope this new year brings lots of happiness and healthiness to all of you this year!  In my last post I set some goals for the month of January…to make 2017 a little more productive.  I don’t want to think beyond that…unless we are talking summer vacation!

Belated Merry Christmas to everyone, too!  We were on the road most of the time.  We drove from West Virginia to Corpus Christi, TX.  That is 3,380 plus miles.  I have a good chauffeur!

Because of the way the holidays fell…Christmas on Sunday…New Year’s on Sunday…we couldn’t afford to go to the Florida Keys. $250 a night for 70’s hotel is just too much.  We were planning on 4 nights.  We decided to go to the Alamo instead.  Texas here we come!

Well, the Alamo was closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas day, so we decided to go to the beach.  It is the off season in Corpus Christi.  That means cheap.  We stayed ON THE BEACH at a Quality Inn.  They put us in a suite that was bigger than our first apartment together for less than $100 a night.  Wahoo!

Let me share some pictures…

While we were waiting for check-in time, we drove to Padre Island National Seashore to check it out.  I learned about the Kemp’s ridley turtles.  The dunes are impressive here. It was cloudy, but still 80 wonderful degrees F.  That felt fantastic compared to the freezing temperatures back in West Virginia.  How can this be the off-season?

Padre Island National Seashore Padre Island National Seashore

Between the dunes and the parking lot, these happy flowers were growing.  It is good to see some green, growing things at this time of the year.

Our views around the hotel…

USS Lexington

U.S.S. Lexington

Santa at the beach


Some very inebriated folks had Santa on their balcony in the hotel next door.  They were having a great time at the pre-Christmas celebration in their room.

Santa was not the only celebrity on the beach.

Spider man goes to the beach

Spidey, What are you doing here?

This was a boat that was out in the Gulf of Mexico.  I thought it was interesting to watch.  At night we could see lights out in the Gulf, too.  beach 2017

Of course, there has to be some gratuitous pictures of palm trees.  We were at the beach, after all.  I love going places where I can wear sandals and shorts at Christmas time.

palm trees

Ahhh…palm trees!

2017 palm trees

I will admit that I didn’t do much sewing on this trip…a little bit of hexagon piecing…plain, old Grandma’s Flower garden type stuff…not even picture worthy at the moment.

We had company for a couple of days.  I am free this afternoon to sew, organize, etc.  So I am off to do just that!  I hope you had great holidays with your family and friends. Here’s to getting 2017 off and running!



Shopping & Vacationing

Shopping for fabric on vacation…ahhhhh!  These are the days!

Since my son lives in Denver, Colorado, we have a good excuse to travel west at least once a year.  I am starting to find some favorite places to stop and shop on my way to his place…and when we are there and he has to work instead of entertain us.  I would like to take a brief moment to thank the folks who run the row by row experience.  If it weren’t for their excellent website, I would not have found these wonderful shops.

I writing about these shops in random order….whatever order I pulled stuff out of the travel bag…or as I refer to it with DH, “the big blue bag of stuff to keep me out of trouble”.  There is a theme to most of these purchases.  DH wanted to see the bison herds at Yellowstone again in the worst kind of way.  I loved seeing all of the wildflowers in bloom as we traveled.  Because we traveled in July, even places that don’t get much summer, like Rocky National Park and Glacier National Park, were in bloom.  The colors were gorgeous.  My theme was born:  Bison and the fields and forests around them.

Places to go shopping:

Last year I bought 17 kits for the row by row experience.  Sadly, I don’t have them completed yet.  My applique mermaids have hair, but they are still naked.  I have only included places that I liked shopping at last year.  If the lady tending the shop last year was snotty and obnoxious, I didn’t go back.  I like to be chatted up by a friendly person!  Life is too short to be treated badly.

Bernina Silver Thimble
3301 10th Ave S
Great Falls, MT 59405

I should be ashamed to say that I almost passed on this shop.  It was because the brand name of a sewing machine was in the name of the store.  I don’t have anything against name brands.  I am an old Singer and antique sewing machine girl through and through.  When I stopped at a similar shop last year in Colorado Springs, I was snubbed.  I am soooooooo glad that I stopped at this shop.  The owner and I had a great chat about traveling.  She had been to many of the same places across the United States that I have been to….even Alaska and the West Coast.  She is excellent at the chatting it up game.  I will be back to see her on future trips.  As a bonus, I did pick up her row by row pattern, but I did not buy a kit.

Here are the fabrics I purchased:

shopping at Bernina Silver Thimple, Great Falls, MT

Bernina Silver Thimple, Great Falls, MT

The tan with flowers  and green leaf print will perfectly represent prairie grasses.  The orange/ yellow flowers and red violet fabric are perfect flower colors.  (Red violet must be “in again”.  Two years ago I was making a quilt that had this color and had trouble finding more to buy when I ran short.)

Nanas Quilt Cottage
35 S 26th Street
Colorado Springs, CO 80904

This was really my first stop on this trip.  I promised to have restraint when I got out of the car.  Surprisingly, I did!  I only bought a few things.

The ladies in this shop gave me the best travel tip of the trip. (Say that 10 times fast!)  When we left Colorado, we drove across the state into Utah.  We took a back road in Utah to Arches National Park.  The back road was like driving at the bottom of the Grand Canyon with the Colorado River running beside the road and the red cliffs surrounding us.  This drive actually made Arches Park seem less impressive.  I will share these pictures later…back to shopping!

 shopping for flower fabric from Nanas Quilt shop

flower fabric from Nanas Quilt shop

I bought some fat 8ths to make into flower petals.  These are red violet and orange red.  The lighting in the hotel and the camera flash did not enhance my camera skills.

flower maker (5 petal)

flower maker (5 petal)

They had many different flower makers.  I randomly picked one.  These things are idiot proof!  The directions are clear with illustrations that actually match the process!

5 petal flower

5 petal flower

Here is my final product.  I sewed it to a Dollar Tree pencil pouch to make myself a travel sewing kit…since I left my real travel sewing kit at home.  (It does not fit in the blue bag of things to keep me out of trouble.)

Lyons Quilting
42 East Main Street
Lyons, CO 80540

On our first full day of visiting our son, Jeremiah, and his girlfriend, Roxanne, he drove us to Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park.  On the way, he said there was a cute little quilt shop.  We could stop if I wanted to…DH groaned quietly thinking, “IF she wants to….hmppp!”  (Yes, by this point in the trip, I had been in the car sitting next to him for so long that I could read his mind.  This power takes about a month after the trip is over to wear off, by the way.)

They thought we were there for the class.  Other husbands were there carrying in stuff for their wives who were taking “the class”.  I confused the lady at the register when I asked if we could “look around”.  We all chuckled about it later at the cutting table.

fat quarters from Lyons Quilt shop

fat quarters from Lyons Quilt shop

shopping for yardage from Lyons Quilt shop

yardage from Lyons Quilt shop

These fabrics mostly fit my theme.  I will probably use the Kokopelli fabric in another project.  The bee fabric will be used in something for my friend, Bernadine, or her husband, Bob, who raises honey bees.  The bison fabric will be great block centers and border.

More Vacationing & Shopping…..

Holly’s Quilt Cabin
8210 S. Holly St.
Centennial, CO 80122

shopping at Holly's Quilt Cabin

row by row kit from Holly’s Quilt Cabin

I couldn’t stand the pressure!  I bought a row kit!  This one is batik cabins!  I will make this into a wall hanging for my sewing room door.  It will be a great project when we are back in school and I need something to think about….other than school.

from Holly's Quilt Cabin

from Holly’s Quilt Cabin

These red flowers were on the clearance table, but they will fit the theme quilt perfectly….SCORE!

Now I come to yet another impulse buy.

impulse clearance fabric

impulse clearance fabric

This fabric was also on the clearance table.  I love all of the little motifs that I will be able to use for applique.  It was the eagle and the dragon that caught my eye.  Sadly, I have little to no self-control when it comes to sale fabric.

The Quilt A Way
222 13th Street South
Great Falls, MT 59405

We had trouble re-finding this store.  I bought a row kit there last year.  I remember what a big, bright space this store had for its beautiful display quilts.  Some goofball (me) typed in 13th Avenue South into the Tom Tom.  Why do western cities have streets and avenues named like this?  Our county renamed roads and streets so that this confusion would never happen (for 9-1-1 purposes).  We eventually did find it.  Yeah!  They even gave me a frequent shopper card!

shopping at Quilt-a-Way fabric, Montana

Quilt-a-Way fabric, Montana

The wheat reminds me of the endless high plains in Montana.  The pinks are great flower colors.  I had been searching for just the right sage green…for all of the scrubby, little bushes that grow where nothing else does.

Quilts Galore & More
104 Truman Ave
Great Falls, MT 59404

This was a cute, little store.  It was actually on the outskirts of Great Falls to the North of the city.  The shop owner was at the Farmer’s Market for the day.  She had her friend (and friend’s grand-daughter) watching the store.  They were very surprised to get a visitor, especially one from West Virginia!  I had a good time talking to the pair of storekeepers.  The Grand-daughter was making a mug rug and some book marks.  What a sweet little shop! (They also make table runners, quilts, etc. and do long arm quilting for other people.)

shopping at Quilts Galore & more

fabric from Quilts Galore & more

The greens and red violets will fit perfectly into my plan.  At one point, DH said that the grain was like ocean waves in the wind…thus the green wavy fabric.

Last Shop…

Hingeley Road Quilting
11284 Hwy 2
Floodwood, MN 55736

We had been through this town last year.  I remember the cat fish “log” sculpture at the rest area.  The store was not open because we came through in the evening on a Sunday.  This year we had better timing.

Shopping in this store was lots of fun.  First, when we pulled into the parking lot, there was a husband convention.  Three miserable looking gentlemen were sitting in their trucks.  Dan had to stay in the car because it was too hot to let the dog in there….so he got to join the husband convention.

shopping at Hingeley Road Quilting

shopping at Hingeley Road Quilting

They had a surprisingly large selection.  I chose these fabrics from the clearance/ remnant bin.  In this photo, the colors are influenced by each other.  One is actually dark brown and the light one above it is more gray looking than lavender.  Weird!

state fabric

state fabric

I love this state fabric.  Not all states are in this mixed up jumble of states, but the tan will fit the theme of the quilt…if not on the front, maybe on the back.

forest & sky fabric

forest & sky fabric

The sky and pine tree fabric will be used in the bison quilt.  The gray smoky pine trees will be used in the row by row quilt from last year….when Alaska caught on fire and we came home.

This shop had an excellent selection of outdoorsy type fabrics….lots of animals, plants, nature panels, etc.  What a great place to stop for the final fabric shopping of the trip!

By the way, DH was feeling guilty because my birthday present was on back order.  It is still on back order.  I am so glad that he let me buy myself more birthday presents!  Time to go wash some fabric!  (I am a die hard pre-washer.  I always use a color catcher, just to be safe.)

May your travels be blessed with chatty quilt shop keepers!  Enjoy your day!



Row by Row #3 block revealed

Row by Row block #3

This row by row kit was purchased at Bella Fabrics in Suffolk, VA.  This store was clean, bright, and airy.  The ladies at the counter were friendly and cheerful.  I love to be chatted up when I am fabric shopping.  I sometimes learn unexpected and interesting things.This is the block that the kit was camera shy.  All of the other kits were photographed and posted.  This one was the only one out of 17 that did get its picture taken.

Now it is completed and ready to be revealed.  This kit was applique and paper piecing.  The main feature is the diminishing paper pieced waves.  I love the precise look of paper piecing, but personally find the technique to be tedious.  (Sorry, if you are a paper piece fan…I admire the beauty of your work, but I hate picking out paper and fighting with the paper to chain piece.)  I am finding that I love hand applique more and more.

Row by row#3 block

Bella Fabric block

I did add some extra touches:  a couple of boats riding the waves, some embroidery to identify the block, and some beach grass.

Row by row#3 block

embroidery and boat riding the waves

I love the fabrics in this kit…lovely blue batiks, as well as other bright, pure colors.  This kit had very generous portions of fabric, too.  That makes for extra pieces to add to later blocks or borders or maybe even a pieced back.

Row by row#3 block

a place to read and relax

I want to sit under a beach umbrella like this one to read a book and avoid soaking in too much sun.  I can almost hear the sound of the waves crashing on the beach.  Beach ball anyone?

Row by row#3 block

I’ve got sunshine on not a cloudy day

I love this cute sun.  The wavy detail of the rays of the sun make it look shimmering hot.  The fabric also looks like it is melting.  It even has sun spots.  HA ha ha!

I made a mistake on one of the waves.  You will have to look back at the picture at the top.  Of course, I did it on purpose to see if anyone would notice.  (If you believe that one, I have bridge for sale.  It is located in Brooklyn, I think.)  Did you find my faux  pas?

Have a great quilting day!





Row by Row North American#2 (more fabric in Virginia)

Somehow this post was overlooked and not published in June!  It was written…the fabric pictures were added…it was ready when I was checking the draft file to work on my next post.  Ooooops!

Let’s do some time travel!

Flashing lights!  Time travel noises!  zurp…zurp…clang  More flashing lights!  woop…woop…clunk….sssss of steam!

On Wednesday, we had more shops to hop to in Virginia.

Fabric stop #3

Shop #3 was Bella Fabrics.  The block is a combination of paper pieced and applique.  Somehow the fabric was not photographed, a link was overlooked, etc.  I will add more about this shop when I post about the finished row in my reveal page.

Fabric stop #4

Shop #4 that I found was the Fabric Hut in Norfolk, Virginia.  Wow!  They had a great selection of upholstery fabrics, quilt fabrics, buttons, accuquilt cutters and die cut plates (or whatever they are called).  Their row is called “Mermaid Block”.

Here is the kit:




I can’t wait to work on this beautiful block!

I also found these colorful panels on the clearance rack:

100_5545 cat fabric panel

My goal is to get the cat panel made into a quilt for my friend Lisa.  She collects all things cat.

Fabric stop #5

I bought a new rotary cutter to travel.  100_5547

I bought some chicken fabric.  Mwhahaha! (That is a story for another day!) 100_5548

DH found this fabric on sale while I was standing at the cutting counter.  It will be great for the row by row experience.


This fabric, which is covered with postage stamps, will be great for the United State panel that I bought in Colorado at Thanksgiving.


I am slowly collecting Americana fabrics to make a quilt for my DH, who is a social studies teacher.


These floral and green fabrics were just too beautiful to pass up.100_5552 100_5555coordinated fabric

I love the colors in this Halloween fabric.  Cute skulls, spiders, and bats.100_5553

My friend Bernadine will love something made with this fabric.  This would be great placemats, a bag lining, fussy cut into a block center, etc.  Oh, the possibilities!100_5554

Next we stopped into Hancock fabric!  I had a 20% of your purchase over $50.  I bought all kinds of goodies.  The girl at the cutting counter asked what kind of quilt I was working on.  The lady behind me complemented me on how well I had coordinated the fabrics.  Stash doesn’t need to be coordinated.  I must have been in a mostly green mood.

Fabric stop #6…which is shop #5 in the row by row

Shop#5 was missing….it was not at the address that was listed in the row by row experience.  I e-mailed them to let them know that they had an old address listed.  Unfortunately, I don’t have time to drive back there to shop.  I will find the last four somewhere in the U.S. or Canada.

The hunt will continue another day!